Wednesday, February 21, 2007
When No Means No But It Should Mean Yes
I got an email today from an aspiring writer who happened upon In Between Men and loved it.
She asked if I ever got used to the rejections - apparently she read my story about how I almost didn't become an author. She wanted to know because her fear of "no" kept her from sitting down to write.
Unfortunately, yes, I have gotten used to people saying no. In fact, I'm slightly surprised when I get a yes!
It all began when I was in the School for Creative and Performing Arts at Chula Vista High School. We had to audition for every play and I sucked so bad that I always ended up as walking and talking scenery. But it never stopped me from trying for the roles with lines.
I finally got it but I only had one line and the nerves before each performance nearly killed me.
When I took my first screenwriting class, we had to pitch three ideas to the group and they decided which one you would write. I had do it again because the first three - none of which, thankfully, I can remember - wouldn't fly with the class.
It's not so much that I have this tough-as-rawhide skin. My writing teacher, Ben Masselink once told me, "The writer's skin has to be thick enough to withstand criticism but thin enough to take in the world around him."
Rather, I've learned not to take it personally and if a "no" stings, then there's a lesson in it somewhere. Either my idea doesn't have legs or it needs time to develop a pair; or its a matter of wrong person, wrong project, wrong time. When its the later, saying no to me is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I'll take the hits but somehow, some way, I'll find the person who will say yes.
Have you had to keep going in spite of getting a no? Did you ever have to give up and change direction?
I wanna know!